A 17-YEAR-OLD who had sex with 12-year-old girl he met online has avoided a jail sentence.
The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, began talking to the girl on Facebook.
He persuaded her to send him photographs of her undressed before they arranged to meet up for sex. Afterwards he told her not to tell anyone about what they had done.
The police were called after the young girl told a sibling about what had happened.
The teenager, from the Waterlooville area, admitted three counts of raping a child under 13 and two of sexual assault after the incident last September.
Judge Sarah Munro QC rejected an application from The News to identify the defendant.
Frank Privett, defending, urged the judge to depart from the sentencing guidelines, which recommend a prison sentence for the offences, and not jail the youth.
Sentencing him at Portsmouth Crown Court Judge Munro said: ‘I am quite satisfied that I should not view these offences in the context of someone who is sexually attracted to children.
‘You, and indeed she, saw this as an equal relationship of two young people of relatively similar ages. I have had to think very long and hard about the right course of action to take with you.’
The judge said she could take the rare option of not sending him to jail. He was given a three-year youth rehabilitation. He was also banned from being in the presence of girls under 16, apart from in shops, public transport and colleges, told not to contact girls online or by phone and barred from working with children.
He was given a six-month curfew, from 10pm to 7am and will be on the sex offenders’ register for five years.